Wayne Routledge’s goal from all of eight inches looked by far the easiest aspect of this match. After all, Swansea had to save a penalty and watched blood stream from the back of their star striker Michu’s head after he was caught by a stray boot while stooping to head the ball.
Michu’s gash was bleeding so profusely that he had to have his shirt changed – indeed, a member of the Swansea City staff had to go to the club shop and have one printed off.
And the home team were far from happy that they were not awarded a penalty for the incident, which took place just inside the St Gallen area half an hour into the game. Ten minutes earlier Gerhard Tremmel had saved the easiest of spot kicks from Goran Karanovic, awarded after Dwight Tiendalli handled in the box. Of some succour to Karanovic, he had no recollection of the miss after being taken off at half time after suffering from concussion in a collision with Tremmel.
The game was hardly helped by the inconsistent and fussy refereeing of Duarte Gomes, but Swansea can now head into the home game with Kuban Krasnodar later this month knowing a win would make them strong favourites to claim a place in the last 32. The goal, seven minutes into the second half, was made by Daniel Lopar, the St Gallen goalkeeper, along with Wilfried Bony.
The Swansea forward’s shot, from just outside the six-yard box, squirmed under Lopar’s glove and spun into the path of Routledge, who had timed his run to intercept any rebound and duly tapped in for the goal.
There were some nervy moments later in the second half as the Swiss side – unbeaten in 12 previous matches – added some guile to their grit and Stéphane Nater was unlucky to hit the post for the visitors from a fine long-range strike.
Routledge was pleased to have made it two wins from two and conceded it was not pretty to watch. He said: “They battled hard and it was a gritty win. I thought the goal was going in. I let it roll as long as I could but I tapped it in.
“It shows we have massive character. We can knuckle down if we need to and play if we get the chance.”
Leon Britton, the Swansea captain, added: “It wasn’t a great performance but we got the win.”